Located along the Gulf Coast just an hour south of Tampa and a little under two hours north of Fort Myers your will find the town of Sarasota. This city combines the historic Old Florida feel with vibrant cultural districts to create one of the most perfect atmospheres anywhere.
Where to retire in Sarasota:Del Webb at Lakewood Ranch is a 55+ active adult community located in the master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota, FL. Enjoy resort-style amenities and activities including a state-of-the-art fitness center, resort pool with lap lanes, grand clubhouse with full-time Lifestyle Director, social clubs, and group outings.
Del Webb at Lakewood Ranch offers a collection of single-family homes and low-maintenance attached villas designed to fit your lifestyle. There are currently 10 home designs to choose from starting in the mid-$200k’s.
2. New Smyrna Beach
Located just 15 miles south of Daytona Beach is where you will find New Smyrna Beach. This quaint little beach town offers the atmosphere that many Boomers are looking for, but also brings quite a few unique amenities to the table.
New Smyrna is only about 20 minutes away from where I used to live in Daytona Beach Shores, and we often found ourselves down in New Smyrna for one reason or another (usually food or drink related…haha!) a few times per week.
Where to retire in New Smyrna Beach:Perfectly situated in Central Florida’s favorite beach town, Venetian Bay (A Geosam Capital development) offers World Class Resort-Style amenities to its residents.
Play a round of golf on their 18-Hole Championship golf course, spend a day with your family at the Beach and Swim Club, enjoy a relaxing day at their World Class Spa, stay active by joining the on-site fitness center or walking and biking on the miles of beautiful trails.
You’ll discover luxury estates in gated private communities; semi-custom homes; mid-sized single family homes and duplexes; maintenance free luxury townhomes and apartment homes.
With prices ranging from the $200k’s to over $1 million, there really is something for everyone at Venetian Bay.
3. Ft. Myers
Known for offering the perfect combination of recreation and relaxation, Fort Myers contains an endless amount of options including white sand beaches, first-class golf courses, exciting deep-sea fishing, and outstanding shopping.
There is an amazing selection of great local restaurants in just about every neighborhood, and baseball fans will be excited to know that both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins host their spring training activities here.
Where to retire in Fort Myers:Offering easy access to everything Southwest Florida is famous for, GL Homes is proud to introduce Valencia Bonita— a new standard of 55 plus living on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast. With an exciting vacation-inspired lifestyle that rivals the finest resorts, Valencia Bonita features an opulent 45,000 sq. ft. clubhouse and carefully designed single-family and villa home designs that are tailored to those looking for spacious layouts and sophisticated style. Valencia Bonita is located just minutes from pristine beaches, tranquil nature preserves, chic shops and fine dining. Plus, everyday conveniences including banks, grocery stores and top rated medical facilities are also just a short drive away. Homes start in the low $300k’s.
4. The Villages
Located about an hour north of Orlando,
The Villages is known for having the largest and most diverse collection of amenities of any community on the planet. Residents have access to an amazing collection of golf courses, recreation centers, and town squares, as well as an unparalleled number of clubs covering just about any topic you can imagine.
With all of the advantages that The Villages offers to its residents, it is no wonder that it consistently ranks as the fastest growing community in the entire country. There were an astounding 2,134 new homes sold here in 2018.
Located just south of Sarasota, but not quite as far south as Fort Myers or Sanibel Island, Venice sits in a sweet spot along Florida’s southern Gulf Coast that makes it the perfect destination for anyone looking to make the most of 14 miles of stunning white sand beaches.
In addition to those beautiful beaches, Venice is also known for all kinds of exciting ways to enjoy the great outdoors. It is a fabulous destination for boomers interested in exploring arts and culture, boutique shopping, or a wide range of outstanding restaurant choices.
Like many southwest Florida communities, Naples brings together the best of shopping, recreation, and beautiful white sand beaches. But residents here would definitely argue that Naples offers the best versions of all three.
Historic downtown Naples is filled with with high-end shoppes and boutiques. The surrounding areas are littered with championship level golf courses. And this location along the southern Gulf Coast of Florida boasts some of the most stunning beaches you will find anywhere.
If one of your concerns is that you move to Florida for retirement and your kids and grandkids never come to visit, that won’t be the case if you end up in Kissimmee. In fact, you might have a hard time getting them to leave!
Kissimmee is located just south of Orlando and is just minutes from popular attractions like the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, Sea World, and more. They call Kissimmee the “attraction zone” and it’s easy to see why.
Where to retire in Kissimmee:Solivita is a national award-winning retirement community in Central Florida’s attraction zone, offering great natural beauty, vast recreational amenities and enough to do to keep any active adult as busy as you care to be. No matter where you live within this lush gated 55-plus community in Kissimmee, you can easily walk, bike or drive your golf cart to indoor and outdoor dining venues, state-of-the-art spa and fitness complexes, pickleball or tennis courts, and other facilities for sports and games. You can also meet up with newfound friends, share the fun in social clubs, and enjoy lifelong learning classes and countless other amenities—inviting you to do it all, or nothing at all.
8. St. Augustine
Famous for being the oldest city in the country, St. Augustine is absolutely the perfect place for anyone who appreciates history. The city is located along the east coast of Florida just about 45 minutes south of Jacksonville, and a little over an hour north of Daytona Beach.
In addition to being a great location for history buffs, St. Augustine is also filled with tons of culture, great shopping, unique places to eat, and two really wonderful retirement communities. If you are passionate about any combination of those things, the Nation’s Oldest City could be a great option for your retirement!
Where to retire in St. Augustine:Freedom at San Salito is a 55+ neighborhood, located in St. Augustine, Florida that offers a low stress, low maintenance lifestyle. Located off State Road 16, residents will have easy access to a variety of public amenities. The community features include a gated entrance, private amenity center clubhouse and outdoor pool. Freedom at San Salito also has a part time Lifestyle Director who cultivates the ideal selection of clubs and events for homeowners. San Salito is close to the beach, golf courses, fantastic shopping, dining, music and entertainment!
Homes range in size from 1,585 to 2,033 square feet of living space, and include features like granite countertops, walk-in closets, and covered lanais. Prices start in the mid-$250k’s.
9. Port Orange
Located just 15 minutes south of famous Daytona Beach, Port Orange is known for its small town feel, but also for its close proximity to the big city amenities that residents can enjoy up in Daytona Beach, as well as in nearby Orlando.
Port Orange is laid back and quiet, while still providing all the amenities one could possibly want.
As the third largest city in the state of Florida, Tampa offers residents all of the big city amenities they are looking for combined with the fantastic climate that draws people to the Sunshine State in the first place. In addition to tons of amenities and great weather, Tampa is also located right on the water and filled with outstanding shopping and dining options.
Where to retire in Tampa:Just a short drive from Tampa, the Villages of Citrus Hills is a Florida Retirement Community with single family homes and maintenance free villas that have been built with today’s demanding baby-boomer in mind. It has world-class community country club amenities and extensive social activities. Depending on the style and neighborhood you choose, home and home site packages range from the mid $300s to more than $1.2 million.
Located right on the Atlantic Coast in northeast Florida, Jacksonville offers its residents all of the amenities that come with a beachfront city for a fraction of the cost of some of the popular destinations nearby.
Known as the “River City on the Sea,” Jacksonville is packed with more than 22 miles of beaches, a scenic stretch of the beautiful St. Johns River, the largest urban park system in the nation, historic neighborhoods, and a thriving street art scene.
Where to retire in Jacksonville:Freedom at Arbor Mill and Freedom at Azalea Ridge are two 55+ active adult neighborhoods located practically next door to each other, in Jacksonville, Florida. Both communities offer a low stress, low maintenance lifestyle in a great location. The communities feature a gated entrance, private amenities, including a clubhouse and outdoor pool. The central aspect of each community will be an amenity center with an exercise room and covered patio, outdoor fireplace, pickleball courts, bocce ball courts, and a dog park.
Known as “The Sailfish Capital of the World,” Stuart is located along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, north of West Palm Beach and just south of Port St. Lucie. This area of Florida is also known as “The Treasure Coast” because so many ships have been lost here fighting to survive storms over the years.
Where to retire near Stuart:As soon as you enter Vitalia at Tradition, you’ll know you have found the ultimate active adult lifestyle. With bicycles and golf carts as the preferred method of transportation, active adult residents can join friends within the neighborhood or explore the vast 8,300 acres of Tradition.
For those who want to stay in to enjoy the quaintness of their own neighborhood, Vitalia unveiled an outstanding 24,000-square-foot clubhouse encompassing everything from tennis and bocce courts to great lawn with fire pits and a putting green to a ballroom, fitness rooms and more! The Captiva Club is a private lakefront facility offering year-round recreation and social activities for Vitalia residents, complementing an active lifestyle.
Sitting right in the heart of Central Florida, just 20 miles west of Orlando, is where you will find the impressive little city of Clermont. It was voted the #1 Florida Bicycle-Friendly Community. Clermont is also home to 18 athletes that competed in the 2016 Olympics, it is considered the center point of the impressive Coast-to-Coast Trail, and the city is still growing and developing at an incredible rate.
Where to retire in Clermont:Carefree living, quality Taylor Morrison construction and lots of choices – that’s what you’ll find at Esplanade at Highland Ranch in Clermont. Whether you’re ready to live the Florida lifestyle year-round or ease into it with a vacation home, the time of your life is waiting at this resort style 55+ community.
Select from a variety of distinctive floor plans designed for the way you live, play and entertain. Twelve beautifully designed floor plans ranging from 1,700-3,000 square feet showcase the most popular standard features inspired by homeowners to add convenience, style and value.
14. Delray Beach
People enjoying the sun and surf on Delray Beach. Located just an hour up the coast from Miami you will find one of the best small town communities in the entire country. VisitFlorida.com describes Delray Beach as a “small and intimate town with big-city sophistication.”
It has a large number of art galleries, restaurants, and nightly entertainment events available throughout the popular downtown area. Delray Beach is the place where you can find big city culture in a small town environment…which is why so many people have decided to make their homes here.
15. St. Cloud
Located along the southern banks of East Lake Tohopekaliga near Kissimmee and just south of Orlando, St. Cloud is a quiet city. In addition to having a rich history, the area also offers a type of small-town living that is getting harder and harder to find here in Florida. Combining that small town atmosphere with access to all of the amazing amenities located just to the north in Orlando makes St. Cloud a perfect mixture of old and new Florida living.
16. Daytona Beach
Because of its popularity among race fans, motorcycle enthusiasts, spring breakers, and summer vacationers, Daytona Beach is often overlooked by many boomers as they search for a Florida retirement destination that will fit their ideal lifestyle. However, those popular reasons for visiting Daytona Beach are really just scratching the surface of what residents enjoy here throughout the year.
17. Winter Garden
Located about 25 minutes west of downtown Orlando, Winter Garden offers residents the perfect combination of an Old Florida feel and plenty of modern amenities.
You’ll love strolling through the historic downtown district but will also enjoy the lake lifestyle, the thriving cultural scene, shopping at the weekly farmers’ market, and dining at the impressive collection of modern restaurants.
18. Boynton Beach
Boynton Beach Inlet Located just about halfway between West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Boynton Beach offers residents a lifestyle that is far-removed from all of the popular Florida tourist destinations without actually being all that far away from those places.
Where to retire in Boynton Beach: Swim, play, dine, relax or socialize. The nearly 39,000 square-foot Clubhouse with upscale indoor and outdoor amenities, including a full-service restaurant, sports lounge and multiple pickleball, tennis and bocce courts, provides the ultimate 55+ lifestyle in Boynton Beach. Hundreds of clubs are available to join, Broadway-style shows and entertainment are found in the Social Hall, classes on everything from art to fitness are scheduled at the Clubhouse, and tournaments are held at the world-class Racquet Club. Home prices start in the $400k’s.
19. Vero Beach
Located just a bit north of Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach is one of the most underrated destinations along Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Known for outstanding golf, water sports, and fishing, this is the perfect community for active boomers that are looking to pack some adventure into their retirement years.
The Ocala area represents a unique combination of history, horses, and culture that is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural environments you will find anywhere. Sprinkle in the collection of interesting shops and restaurants in Ocala’s downtown district.
Where to retire in Ocala: At On Top of the World Communities, active adults will find all they dream about and so much more. Located in beautiful Ocala Florida (just down the road from Leesburg),
Leisure amenities include 54 holes of golf on three courses, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a 14-acre R/C flying field, bocce, racquetball and basketball courts, fitness center, health club and spa, restaurants, cultural venues, and much more.
Residents can also participate in over 175 clubs, leagues, hobbies, and lifelong learning opportunities.
New homes are of quality construction, often exceeding ENERGY STAR criteria while offering comfort, convenience, and a wide variety of design elements.
There are 23 floor plans available with prices ranging to suit every budget starting in the mid $100k’s.
21. Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie and other neighboring towns in St. Lucie County promote themselves as offering “the real Florida,” which they describe as a perfect atmosphere for golf lovers or anyone looking for a small, friendly, beach town.
Where to retire in Port St. Lucie:Valencia Cay at Riverland is the newest 55+ community on Florida’s East Coast. Walk to nearby shops and restaurants, spend the day at the beach or simply enjoy all the amenities right within your own neighborhood.
Get in on the ground floor of Florida’s next top master planned community with prices starting in just the $200s.
Located west of Tampa and just north of St. Petersburg, Clearwater makes up the third leg of one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Florida. Known for its white sand beaches and the fabulous Clearwater Marine Aquarium, this is the ultimate destination for baby boomers that want to feel like they are forever on vacation.
Because it is located so close to Tampa, Clearwater residents enjoy close access to a major international airport. They also enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches that you will find anywhere along the Gulf Coast.
23. Lake Nona
Located just inside the city limits in southeastern Orlando, Lake Nona is the ultimate combination of everything that most Baby Boomers are looking for in a retirement destination. The entire community is built around living a better, healthier lifestyle.
That means that residents here can enjoy an impressive amount of preserved green space, pools in every neighborhood, endless miles of trails, and some of the fastest internet speeds you will find anywhere in the world. On top of that, Lake Nona offers a plethora of educational options and outstanding healthcare facilities.
24. Palm Coast
Located along the Atlantic Coast about halfway between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, Palm Coast offers the perfect combination of nature and golf for anyone who likes to enjoy both at the same time. Whether you choose to focus more on golf or nature, you will be happy to have both right at your fingertips here in one of Florida’s best kept secrets!
There you have it, the top 24 best places to retire in Florida today.
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If you don't want to move, but just want to vacation, check with Peterson Travel Pros for information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan Erisman • Updated: November 30, 2019